The Vip Family Has Lost A Great Man
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our VP of Sales, Tom LeClair. On July 13, 2020, surrounded by family, Tom took his last breath. The loss is massive, and he will be greatly missed.
Tom was our VP of Sales
Tom was the husband of Kathy LeClair, our CFO, and the daughter of Vip’s founder Howard Vipperman Senior. Tom met Kathy at a party and instantly fell in love. They married in March of 1968. Tom was deeply loved by his three daughters, had 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He was devoted to his family, worked hard, and made everyone feel special.
If you knew Tom, you know he was very charismatic and witty. He could always see the humor in situations and was very fun to be around.
Tom was the VP of sales at Vip, and was such a talented salesman. His customers were his friends. He always did what was best for the customer rather than looking to make a profit. He was a relationship builder who ultimately brought in some of the largest accounts that Vip has. He was instrumental in the success of the company.
Tom has left a void that can never be filled, but he will forever be remembered. His imprint on Vip is woven into the foundation of the company. We were fortunate to have with us for so long.
Tom Was Also.... My Dad
On a more personal note, Tom was not only an employee, but he was also my dad.
As you know, Vip is family-owned and operated. Part of the second generation of leadership, my dad helped our business thrive and provided us (the third generation) with a legacy to continue.
Dad loved my two sisters and me with all of his heart, and we certainly felt the same about him. He was always there for us girls and even attempted to put our hair in ponytails a few times. That didn’t work so well! He managed to make it through raising three teenage girls and somehow came out still sane. That’s no easy feat!
His one true love was my mom. He respected her and knew he had a good woman by his side. Every day at 11:30am, he would walk downstairs to my mom’s office at Vip and take her out to lunch. He enjoyed spending time with her, she was a huge part of his world. It was adorable to watch.
An avid golfer, my dad was often found on the golf course – and he was a good player! I remember playing with him and being frustrated because, well, I am not a good player. He said, “Cindy, don’t keep score, it will be more fun for you.” He was so right. I have not kept score since. I’m still not very good, but I have a lot more fun.
And, fitting for his silly personality, if anyone called and got his voicemail, it said, “I can’t answer the phone, but I assure you I am not on the golf course.” And, of course, we all knew where he was. His sense of humor was great.
A True USC Football Fan
My dad loved many things but was REALLY passionate about USC Football. In fact, he was often referred to as “Tommy Trojan”.
Dad either watched or attended all of the games. He and my mom often traveled around the country to be there for the away games. His collection of USC memorabilia is vast. There is an entire game room at my parent’s house devoted to USC with matching curtains and all!
Everyone knew not to make other plans during a USC game. His team spirit and love for the game brought our family closer. We are all USC fans and have had so much fun watching together.
Germen Shepard Rescue Support
When my dad was in the Army, he trained German Shepard dogs. They were his favorite breed.
He was very active with the Orange County German Shepard Rescue, helping many dogs find homes. An extremely generous man, he certainly brought a lot of great things to this organization.
Many people have asked how they can support our family and honor Tom during this time. I know my dad would be thrilled to know the German Shepard Rescue continued to benefit in his absence. We have created a fundraiser in his honor, and you are welcome to join in if you feel led to do so.
The fundraiser is on the Facebook page of my sister Stacey. You can access it via the link below.
If you prefer to send a check, they can be mailed to
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County
120 Tustin Avenue Suite C-1111
Newport Beach, CA 92663
*In memory of Thomas LeClair
Losing a father is so difficult, and it has taken me several months to be able to write this post. I am sure many of you can relate. But, without grief, we would never get to experience joy. My family and I will cherish his memory, and he will live on in our hearts.
As we continue on as a company and a family, we will echo the famous words of the USC Trojans….. We will “Fight On!”
Please feel free to leave a comment on this post, we would certainly love to hear from you. We love to hear stories from customers who knew him, and just hear from our customers, vendors and friends in general. You are also part of our family.
Cindy LeClair is the Vice President of Marketing at Vip Rubber and Plastic Company
Proud to be a part of the third generation of family ownership, Cindy and has over 12 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. She is passionate about helping others and aims to educate and connect customers with the right resources.
If you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to reach out. firstname.lastname@example.org